NASA Launch Update: Cable Glitch Delays Antares Liftoff
The Antares rocket launch has been delayed until Monday, Oct. 17.
Orbital ATK's Antares rocket was scheduled to launch on Sunday evening, Oct. 16, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). However, launch managers pushed back the scheduled liftoff to Oct. 17, 7:40 p.m. EDT due to a faulty cable.
"Today's launch of Orbital ATK's Antares rocket is postponed 24 hours due to a ground support equipment (GSE) cable that did not perform as expected during the pre-launch check out," NASA said in a statement. "We have spares on hand and rework procedures are in process. The Antares and Cygnus teams are not currently working any technical issues with the rocket or the spacecraft."
Antares will carry the Orbital OA-5 Cygnus cargo freighter loaded with 5,290 pounds of supplies and science experiment payloads. It will carry the Saffire II experiment, which will study combustion behavior in microgravity, and a nanoracks CubeSat deployer, which will be used for weather forecasting.
Antares hasn't launched since it exploded shortly after liftoff in October 2014, damaging the unmanned Cygnus cargo laden with thousands of pounds of supplies bound for the ISS. The failed launch was due to a faulty turbopump in one of the rocket's old AJ-26 engines. After the incident, the 14-story tall rocket was upgraded with two new RD-181 first stage engines, which were specifically designed by the Russian manufacturers for the rocket. In the mean time, the last two Cygnus missions flew on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
The launch has been previously delayed from last week when Hurricane Nicole swept past Bermuda where a NASA ground station is positioned to track the rocket, SpaceFlightNow reports.
The nighttime launch can be seen along the East Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic states. However, visibility will depend on weather conditions.